George Gissing: The Whirlpool

(1608 words)

When The Whirlpool was published in three volumes in 1897, by which time Gissing was ranked with Meredith and Hardy as among the most important English writers of the age, it was well received by critics and readers, at home and abroad. In 2015 the novel was issued as a Penguin Classic, testifying to its enduring importance. Whilst writing the novel, Gissing had changed the working title from “The Common Lot”, to “Benedict’s Household”, to the final title. As direction of the reader, these title changes progressed from neutral description, to an ironic one, and finally to a fearful, catastrophic symbol, the sense of which is made clear by a character’s observation early in the novel: “’I feel as if we were all …

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Argyle, Gisela. "The Whirlpool". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 September 2015
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]